unicef has cautioned that relaxing mandatory fortification of wheat flour could put the health of Indonesian women and children at risk.
unicef's warning follows a recent decision by Indonesia's ministry of industry to annul a 2001 law on mandatory fortification of all flour traded in the country to help reduce the market price of flour. The un agency says fortifying flour with iron, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin and folic acid is the cheapest and most sustainable way of addressing malnutrition. The cost of fortification is just pennies per tonne, while benefits of investment in micronutrient fortification far outweigh the cost, says the agency. Micronutrient deficiencies can lead to impaired mental and physical development as well as higher prevelance of neural tube defects at birth.
Indonesia initiated flour fortification programme in the early 1980s. Since then, all its imported wheat are milled only in a limited number of factories that have micro-dosing tools for mixing the micronutrients in the flour.
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